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tv   Crossfire  CNN  March 5, 2014 3:28pm-4:01pm PST

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>> reporter: one day after the president spoke with german chancellor angela merkel about a diplomatic offramp to russia, she pitched up to putin. the word of the day was de-escalate. >> our ultimate goal was to de-escalate. >> reporter: whether it was jack lew warning of sanctions in russia or the pentagon's top brass on plans for nato to beef up its presence in eastern europe. >> we want to provide nato's leaders with options that stabilize but not escalate tensions in the ukraine. >> reporter: the only escalation in sight was between republicans and the administration. with john mccain accusing the intelligence community of missing putin's designs on crimea. >> another massive failure because of our misreading -- total misreading of the intentions of vladimir putin. >> i said that early last week we were well aware of the threats. >> can you think of any place in the world, any place where we're
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better off now than we were when he came to office? >> reporter: administration officials say they're still looking at an initial round of sanctions to impose against russian targets. that of course, prompted a retaliatory threat of sanctions of their own from the russians. i asked a senior administration official about that and they really don't want to comment on the russian threat only that they're focused on diplomatic efforts to resolve this crisis. we know that the president spoke with british prime minister david cameron today about the crisis in ukraine and the vice president talked to the president of latvia. wolf, they've been burning up the phone lines lately. >> the diplomacy continuing full speed ahead. let's hope it works. jim acosta at the white house, thank you. let's go to paris, our foreign affairs reporter elise lavin is there. intense meetings today. the secretary said he'd rather be where all of the action is right now as far as the diplomacy is concerned. did you get the sense that
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there's any ground for serious optimism right now? >> wolf, i would say cautious optimism. they didn't get that meeting between russian foreign minister lav love and the ukrainian foreign, they've been trying to get together all day kerry met with lavrov. then they sat down together. you had that call between angela merkel in which she's pitching this german/french plan that has some elements that the russians would like. tomorrow secretary kerry will go to rome and meet with foreign minister lavrov again. you have a seedling, if you will, of a diplomatic process. and everyone wants to de-escalate the situation. but i will say, wolf, the state department just sent out a fax sheet and it's called president putin's fiction. ten false claims about ukraine.
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i don't know how that will go down as de-escalation when secretary kerry meets tomorrow in rome. elise labott. the house investigation into the irs targeting of conservative groups hit a wall today when former irs manager althou refused to testify before the committee. >> my counsel has advised me that i've not waived my constitutional rights under the fifth amendment and on his advice i'll decline to answer any question on the subject matter of this hearing. >> darrell issa during the meeting angering democrats who wanted to speak. is is a oddered microphones being cut off prompting the ranking democrat elijah cummings to shout his statement. it was ugly indeed, the entire episode. meanwhile, the senate has
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rejected president obama's pick to lead the justice department civil rights decision. the nomination sparked controversy because of his role defensing a man who was convicted of killing a police officer in philadelphia back in 1981. southern democrats sided with republicans rejecting the president's nomination. president obama calls the vote a travesty. the obama administration has announced an obama care extension. insurers are told they can keep those on the policies for two years. as with the late extension, state insurance commissioners will have to sign off on it. just health officials are bracing for the arrival of a new mosquito borne virus spreading through the caribbean. it includes fever and pain that victims describe as debilitating and excruciating. there z no vaccine or cure. the virus was first identified
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in africa and spread through asia and europe in the last decade. that's it for me. let's step into the "crossfire" right now with host van jones and s.e. cupp. they're debating president obama's approach to the crisis in ukraine. >> yeah, wolf, seems like the president's policy of tough diplomacy is actually paying off for us now. >> i'm not sure which john kerry van saw today. i saw one that's empty handed. the debate starts now. tonight on "crossfire" -- is the president blind to the threat from russia? >> our pretty is weak and indecisive in the eyes of the world right now. >> or is the obama administration's tough diplomacy starting to work? >> i think today was very constructive. >> on the left, van jones. on the right, s.e. cupp. in the "crossfire," representative eliot engel, a new york democrat, and adam
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kinsinger, an illinois republican. who is making the u.s. look weak on the world stage? obama, putin or the republicans? tonight on "crossfire." welcome to "crossfire." we're going to continue cnn's breaking news coverage of the crisis in ukraine. i'm van jones on the left. >> i'm s.e. cupp on the right. in the "crossfire" tonight a democrat and republican from the house foreign affairs committee. it's been a big day of breaking news. armed men hassled the u.n.'s eni have to ukraine today before forcing him to leave crimea. secretary of state john kerry met with the russians and the ukrainians today in paris but couldn't get them to talk directly to each other. and kerry had this to say. >> ukraine's territorial integrity must be restored and must be respected. >> but we're all still unclear about how the u.s. will enforce that. yesterday president obama said putin was pausing. today putin threatened to
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confiscate u.s. and european assets if we impose sanctions. when will we learn to take putin seriously? >> i think we are taking him seriously. if you see what kerry is doing, you'll agree. i want to bring in our guests here. we're lucky to have two congresspeople, both of you on the foreign affairs committee. you've served in the military, sir, i would think this would be a time when the country would come together, but instead what i'm hearing from republicans are just shocking comments that not only put obama down but lift putin up. i want your response to this here. >> puti inin is playing chess a think we're playing marbles. i don't think it's even close. >> he makes a decision and he executes it quickly, then everybody reacts. that's what you call a leader. >> people are looking at putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. they look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and
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equivocates and bloviates. >> i'm shocked. we can have our differences, disagreements. this is a global crisis, we can be on the edge of war and we have republicans building up putin. would you like america to be led by a leader like putin? >> i would have loved to have seen this kind of unity during the wars that we fought in the past ten years. we've been a nation at war. we fought terrorism. we fought tyranny. i'd love to see it. look, we have to walk a fine line here. so i did bbc radio. i talk oversees. i don't attack the president and that because i understand that outside we have to be a unified country, but i think it's legit to have a discussion here and say, how do we get to this point? >> listen, i think it's fine to have the discussion, but sometimes the tone is not appropriate and not helpful. congressman, do you feel like the tone from your fellow republicans is helpful in this situation? >> i feel like in times of national crisis we should be banding together, not use it for cheap political gain. that's the wrong thing to do.
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putin might be a strong leader, but would any of us want to live in his type of country where he's a thug and he's ruthless. we don't want that kind of leader. >> republicans are not trying to build putin up, republicans are pissed because it feels like the president and this administration has underestimated putin for the past five years. i mean, we knew through wikileaks that diplomatic cables going back to 2006 that ukraine was worried about a russian invasion. we knew about this from the start, but hillary clinton and president obama seemed to thing that russia was a good actor and reliable partner five years ago. van's pointed out, you know, russia's not been a good actor for a very long time. >> russia hasn't been a good act are for a very long time. but what did we say when president bush was president and russia came into georgia and took away abkhazia and south ossetia? they still occupy those places today. so it's very easy to say that a
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president should be doing something different -- >> but my question on that, and i've heard that response before about president bush and georgia, but if you're suggesting we should have been stronger after the georgia invasion, aren't you suggesting we should be stronger now too? >> i think we should be strong now, i agree with that. we should have been strong then and we should be strong now. we have to do two things. we bolster ukraine because we want them looking west and we have to punish russia. at the same time we looked in iran and we found sanctions that the iranians are negotiating with us because our sanctions brought them to their knees. it may have to be that we contemplate doing the same type of sanctions -- >> eliot and i are good friends. that's what's great about foreign policy. >> we hate that here in "crossfire." >> we're unified on the foreign policy committee and we talk about a lot of things. i do want to make the point about georgia, though, and the different of the reaction to president obama in ukraine and bush in georgia.
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the best georgian troops were actually in iraq fighting with us in the iraq war. president bush made the decision that we were going to fly c-17s with georgian troops into georgia. russia made a comment that would be an act of war, the united states getting involved. and the president said, we're doing it anyway. and they didn't do anything. many troops near tblisi and we saw a couple vessels steam into the black sea. >> are you arguing now that you think the united states should respond militarily to this situation? >> no, this is a different environment. ukraine's far different. we never got involved militarily in georgia, but there were limited options we had like bringing the best georgian troops back to fight the russians. >> you did have george w. bush face a similar situation. you don't think he should have gone in militarily, aggressively start some war. this president is not doing this. i don't understand how the critique is -- wouldn't you agree the president is handling this situation as it hits his
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desk right now, appropriately? >> i think we can't go to war. that's very clear. there's no military option here. so i've tried to stand with the administration and say in congress tomorrow we're going to talk about sanctions. eliot's done a good job leading that with ed royce. i think we need to take the fact that america in 2020 will be the leading world energy producer, so let's talk about that being used to be an offset to the russians because their energy is their weapon. if we're looking to make russia a pariah state, that's where the president needs to be talking. >> listen, i think there's a lot to be said for that. as you know i'm more of a clean energy guy but taking that away from russia, their monopoly in energy, is good. but republicans are missing an opportunity to look more bipartisan. >> congressman engel, i think what bothers republicans is how much the president and the administration seems to have empowered putin over the past few years.
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just to give you a couple of examples. russia controls the northern distribution network which is one of the main access points in afghanistan that our troops rely on to get supplies and food and water. putin controls that. putin is controlling our syria chemical weapons collection deal, which is a farce. putin is undermining our negotiations in iran. have we given him too much power? why has president obama seemingly trusted him on so many fronts? >> we don't trust him. we don't trust him at all. there's commonality between us and russia. we both are opposed to islamic terrorism. we both want to make sure that iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon. so we work with the russians when we need to. but i don't think it empowered putin. i think putin is a very bad guy and my colleague here is absolutely right. on the foreign affairs committee, we're the most bipartisan committee in congress because i really believe that foreign policy should be
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bipartisan. i practice it and the chairman of our committee ed royce practices it as well. and i think that tomorrow we're going to mark up a very important bill, which is a sense of congress, then we're also going to vote on the first billion dollars of loan guarantees for iran. >> i wish bush's policy had been bipartisan. >> we voted for you as well. when we get back, hillary clinton is getting praise from some republicans. john mccain, marco rubio. why her controversial comments are actually getting her some support. so i get invited to quite a few family gatherings. heck, i saved judith here a fortune with discounts like safe driver, multi-car, paperless. you make a mighty fine missus, m'lady. i'm not saying mark's thrifty. let's just say, i saved him $519, and it certainly didn't go toward that ring. am i right? [ laughs ] [ dance music playing ] so visit today.
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toak with an surance expert for wh you , move into a w us o a w us o a w us o a w us o a w us o a w us o a w us o a w us ca.. anasaboul thwa you cove responsibity whouour policy? welcome back to cnn's breaking news coverage of the crisis in the ukraine. in the "crossfire" tonight we have two members of the house foreign affairs committee.
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after meeting separately with top officials from russia and ukraine today in paris, secretary of state john kerry sounded actually pretty upbeat. we're not out of the woods yet, but president obama's approach to diplomacy and threatened action actually seems to be working. meanwhile, the republicans are using this crisis to, surprise, call for more pentagon spending. now we already have the world's biggest military budget and i think putin already knows that. today's complex geopolitical threats actually require diplomacy, economic sanctions, cyber warfare plus a bigger military. in this particular situation, now, obviously, you don't know what the future brings up. >> right. >> but right now us having more tanks or a bigger military budget wouldn't make any difference at all, would it? do you think putin would be acting differently if we had a thousand more tanks? >> i think america's strength and what america has in military that's unmatched by any, i think it stops a lot of tyrants from
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doing a lot of things, the mere threat of military action. >> in this situation, we had nuclear weapons and putin didn't seem to care. >> i don't think a bigger military today would have stopped this in ukraine. part of that was the syrian red line debacle. but half of our military spending goes to paying benefits. that's important. we need that. but that means that every day we're crowding out what we're spending on new airplanes, new ships. >> hillary clinton had controversial remarks yesterday. she basically repeated them today. i'll play that and get your take on that. >> now, if this sounds familiar, it's what hitler did back in the '30s. all the germans that were, you know, the ethnic german, the germans by ancestry, who were in places like czechoslovakia and romania and other places, you know, hitler kept saying, they're not being treated right. i must go and protect my people. and that's what's gotten
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everybody so nervous. >> i don't disagree with her. but if hillary clinton believes that putin is acting like hitler, then wasn't mitt romney right to say that russia was our number one geopolitical foe? >> i think russia is a foe, there's no doubt about that. hillary clinton was right on the money. >> yes, but congressman, mitt romney was laughed by democrats when he said that, he was mocked by the president himself. isn't that embarrassing for the democrats looking back now? >> not embarrassing at all. i think what hillary clinton said was right on the money when hitler invaded to protect ethnic germans you could promote an analogy to support ethnic russians. it was a lie then and it's a lie now. >> i agree. i think that just bolsters what mitt romney had to say about russia in hindsight. >> the problem with romney's comment was he said it was the number one geopolitical threat and i think there are many other threats. i think you probably agree with that. also since you mentioned hillary clinton, she's actually still
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very, very popular and very well respected around the world. do you find any objections to what hillary clinton said? >> no, i think when you use the word i think the actual regional discussion of what it is is accurate. if you look at what's happened in ukraine, stalin actually ethnically cleansed the eastern part of ukraine and populated it with russians. today he can say i'm protecting russians. i think what she said on the surface was correct. when you say hitler and nazi, it has different cop connotations. >> there were massive over reactions and any time anybody gets a history lesson and doesn't want us to be the united states of amnesia, people find options to being nuts. >> that's why it's important to stand strong now. if this is a situation like we faced in europe, it was weak reaction. >> she's the next president of the united states. that's why everybody likes what she has to say. >> let's level with each other,
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congressman, because i think that the president has made some serious foreign policy mistakes that hillary clinton might have to defend if she runs. i think the president has been right on a couple of things. i think it was the right call to go into libya. we left too early and that's why it's a mess. rather than me saying the president is wrong on everything and you saying the president is right on everything, can you admit that he's made some foreign policy mistakes on iran, for example? >> well, i don't know if it's mistakes. look, the president, i was very vocal in saying we should have struck in syria. i disagreed with the fact that the president went back to copying. i didn't think he needed to do so under the war powers act. there are things which i disagree, but he's our commander in chief. he's not the democratic commander in chief, he's the united states commander in chief. in times of crisis, we should be rallying around him. he needs to involve as many
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european allies, if we impose sanctions we'll be much stronger. i think kerry going to kiev is very important to show the ukrainians that we haven't forgotten them. i hope to go to kiev for now. >> stay here for now. don't go to kiev. we want you at home to weigh in on the fire back questions. hillary said putin's actions are like what stalin did in the '30s. tweet yes or no. use #crossfire. a jersey girl needs to grow up. so our business can be on at&t's network for $175 a month? yup. all 5 of you for $175. our clients need a lot of attention. there's unlimited talk and text. we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line, anytime, for $15 a month. low dues, great terms. let's close! new at&t mobile share value plans
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>> > welcome back to "crossfire." it's time for our outrages of the day. a teenage girl in new jersey has had enough of all the annoying rules her parents set forth. stuff like a curfew and, like, chores. totally terrible. so according to her parents, rachel canning left home voluntarily left home to go be an adult on her own. then she promptly sued her parents for child support, the remaining tuition at her high school and upcoming tuition for college. let me explain how adulthood works. you pay for stuff. stop being a terrible person. >> first of all, thank you, ditto. >> we can unite on this? >> we can. don't get any crazy ideas. >> canning brought us together. >> my outrage is somewhat different. i am outraged we are not doing enough to stop global warming.
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at home you might say, eh, i don't care. a war without polar ice caps, huh? . a world without dozens of coastal islands swamped by raising seas. can you imagine a world without guacamole? >> what? >> guacamole. that's right. now i have your attention. laurence livermore national labs is predicting that hotter temperatures is going to cause a 40% drop in california's avocado production. that's a true fact. now chipotle, the national restaurant chain says it may have to stop serving this. >> this is serious. >> not the only crop in danger. this is my point. if you want to keep eating green stuff, america, we have to start using green energy. are you with me? >> that's serious. i love my guacamole. >> talk to me when it affects bacon. then i'll get jazzed. let's check back on our fire back results.
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hillary clinton said russia's actions are like what putin did. 60% say yes, 30% say no. congressman engel last night i asked governor howard dean if the failed russian reset that hillary helped oversea is going to come back to haunt her if she runs in 2016. he said that that was a question that was out of bounds. are we going to be allowed to bring up her record if she runs or is that off limits, too. >> i hope you bring up her record because i think she was one of the most outstanding secretaries of state in our lifetime. >> fair enough. i think her record is unlimits. >> and the american public also agrees. incredibly popular. i want to thank our guests. the debate will continue on from the left i'm dan jones. >> and from the right i'm s.e. cup. erin burnett "out front" starts erin burnett "out front" starts right now.
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-- captions by vitac -- next, u.s. intelligence caught off guard by the crisis in ukraine. serious new questions tonight about when the united states knew about a russian invasion. plus, a mother drives a van with three children inside into the atlantic ocean. was it an accident? we'll hear tonight from witnesses and we have new exclusive video of what happened "out front." surprising at missions today in the oscar pistorius trial. the blade runner asked a witness to take the fall for shooting that was weeks before he shot and killed his girlfriend. let's go "out front."